African Immigrant Families in Another France by Loretta E. Bass (auth.)

By Loretta E. Bass (auth.)

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08 million are estimated to be of Sub-Saharan African origin, largely from Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Mali, and 757,000 are French from the French overseas territories of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Réunion, and the former colony of Haiti. These population estimates are tabulated by a private marketing company, Solis, using data gathered but not tabulated by the INSEE and the INED (Institut national études démographiques, or National Institute for Demographic Studies). This is because it is illegal in France for the government to gather and publish results from a census that groups individuals by race or religion (The Independent 2009).

The overall picture is of considerable competition for employment within the working class at the same time as mushrooming immigration from Sub-Saharan African countries after 1970. 4 percent of households depend on the Revenu minimum d’insertion (RMI, or Insertion Minimum Income), a monetary subsidy provided by the French government to unemployed persons. 3 percent of individuals receive couverture maladie universelle (CMU, or Universal Health Coverage), which provides health insurance to all people who have lived a minimum of three months in France and have no other health care coverage through employment (République française [Republic of France] 2012b).

We cannot truly understand that role if we do not have accurate population estimates. In other research, Héran (2007) calls for an accurate accounting of the French immigrant population noting that current estimates differ by a multiple of three when estimating the immigrant population in France with the European Social Survey data compared to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data. The 2003 European Social Survey estimated that immigrants comprise 29 percent of France’s population, compared to the OECD estimate of 10 percent (Héran 2007).

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